Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 4, 2020
Trudeau’s 21-Second Pause Becomes the Story in Canada
When asked what he thought of President Trump’s call for military action against American protesters and the tear gassing of peaceful demonstrators to make way for a photo-op, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paused at his podium for 21 uncomfortable, televised seconds. He opened his mouth, then shut it — twice. He softly groaned.
Finally, in a scene on Tuesday that has now spread wildly around the internet, Mr. Trudeau said: “We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States.”
From their perch above the United States, Canadians have been watching in shock as the country they’ve long considered their closest friend and protector now seems like a crazed, erratic and dangerous stranger.
Most of the country’s horror has been focused on President Trump. Even the country’s conservative newspapers were filled with columns like one by Gary Mason stating, “There couldn’t be a scarier person inhabiting the White House at this very moment.”
While politicians here have set aside their partisan differences to work together to protect Canadians from the coronavirus, Mr. Trump is viewed as politicizing the pandemic for his re-election effort.
“My view is one of profound sadness — sadness at watching communities we respect being so torn apart, and sadness at watching the loss of life in the pandemic,” said Frank McKenna, a former premier of New Brunswick and a former Canadian ambassador to the United States. “The United States is so polarized, the question of wearing a mask or not is fraught with political overtones. It’s excruciating to watch.”
Prime Minister Trudeau, however, dared not openly criticize President Trump in his response on Tuesday. Instead, like many other Canadian leaders, he chose to ruminate on racism against black Canadians and other minorities. (NYTimes)